An elderly, former Marine who lost his wife of 54 years in the Tucson mass shootings expressed his anger at fellow victim and Congresswoman Gabbie Giffords.
George Morris, 77, was shot in the leg and back in the attack just over a year ago as he tried to protect his wife from the gunman. Dorothy Morris, 76, was killed after the couple had gone to the Safeway supermarket to quiz Ms Giffords’ political opinions.
Mr Morris, who describes himself as ‘ultra-conservative’, even refused a visit from President Obama while he recovered in hospital following the shootings in Arizona.
Harsh words: George Morris, 77, was wounded in the Tuscon shootings last year while his wife of 54 years Dorothy was killed
The couple had gone to the meet and greet at the grocery store to question Congresswoman’s support of Obama’s policies – including the health-care reform bill.
Mr Morris told the Arizona Republic newspaper his opinion of Ms Gifford and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly: ‘Every time I see them on TV, it makes me want to vomit.’
He also blamed Mr Kelly for his wife’s death, adding: ‘I’d like to debate our dear captain astronaut (and ask) why he didn’t have security. My wife would still be alive.’
Mr Morris, who is a retired Marine and airline pilot, said he didn’t believe Ms Giffords should still be in office. The 76-year-old had been a Democrat before becoming a staunch Republican once he retired.
He had campaigned for Jesse Kelly, the Republican who came close to defeating Giffords in the 2010 election.
Mr Morris and his wife Dorothy met while they were still in high school in Reno, Texas and were married for 54 years.
‘I can tell you no man has ever loved a woman more than I loved my wife,’ he said.
According to the Arizona Republic, Mr Morris has since met a new partner online and was considering selling his home to move in with her.
Mr Morris also said that he hoped the alleged shooter Jared Loughner was given the death sentence if found guilty.
Representative Gabrielle Giffords led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance at a candlelight vigil on Sunday evening, one year after surviving the deadly shooting in Arizona.
The congresswoman – who has struggled to re-learn to walk after being shot in the head – stepped onstage to cheers from the crowd.
She limped to the podium and husband Mark Kelly helped lift her left hand over her heart. After months of intensive speech therapy, Giffords recited the pledge with the audience, head held high and a smile on her face.
Mr Kelly spoke at the event and said everyday heroes who emerged from the deadly shooting showed that alongside human frailty, there was also strength.
He named each of the victims who died before saying the injured have shown that healing is possible.
‘Those of us who survived were forever changed by that moment,’ he said.
Ms Giffords’ only television interview occurred with ABC’s Diane Sawyer nearly ten months after the shooting and showed how far she has come.
Ms Giffords has captivated the nation as she recovers. Going into Christmas week, her office had 24,880 letters that had poured in from all over the world.
Students from 428 schools mailed her get-well cards. Many well-wishers send her hand-made gifts, such as quilts, jewelry and paintings. People also send CDs with their favorite music and books with uplifting themes that they hope will cheer her up.
Jared Lee Loughner, 23, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the mass shooting January 8, 2011, outside a Tucson supermarket where Ms Giffords was meeting with her constituents.
He is being forcibly medicated at a federal prison facility in Missouri in an effort to make him mentally ready for trial.
R2J says: While I can fully understand Mr. Morris’ pain, to say what he has about Ms Giffords is absolutely out of order. Ms. Giffords came very close to loosing her own life in the attack that killed Mrs. Morris, and it was certainly not an attack Ms. Giffords had any prior knowledge of. While I am loathed to condemn anyone who is grieving, in this instance I feel I have no choice, and would hope Mr. Morris would retract his statement.